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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book was so freaking empowering, I loved it! I didn’t really pay attention to this book when I first saw the cover, but after a few raving reviews I went back to read the summary and immediately went to download my copy. This book right here should be required reading in middle school or high school, it has such a great message for all girls. I don’t think you have to be on the bigger side of the scale to appreciate the hell out of this book, because, who doesn’t have insecurities about their bodies regardless of the number on the scale?
Will is fat and she knows it and doesn’t give a damn about it. She refuses to feel embarrassed or ashamed about her body and this right here made me instantly love her. When she starts to crush on her coworker, Bo, and he actually seems interested too, Will starts to doubt herself and her body. In order to get some of that confidence back, she does the unthinkable and enters the Miss Clover City Beauty Pageant. Beauty Pageants are a huge deal in her town, and her decision to enter starts to change a few things. Her best friend Ellie and her have a falling out, other girls who aren’t normal beauty pageant material start to enter and her mother is on her case again to change. What started out as a silly impulse turns into something more now that all these girls are looking up to her and it seems like everyone else is waiting for her to fail. Will was the kind of MC that I love reading about. Strong and confident but she also has her flaws. She can be incredibly stubborn at times, but I still loved her. There are so many great quotes in this book that had my ‘you go girl!’ side coming out. I was rooting for Will and her friends the whole time and I kind of wish she would have put more effort into it.
This book was almost perfection for me. A few issues I had with it were that I’m not a big fan of how Will kind of strung along Mitch. Yes, she did make it clear to him that she only was interested in being friends with him, but she also knew some of the things they did were leading him on, making him think it might turn to something more and she just let him think that. I don’t consider this a love triangle at all, but I do wish the focus was more on Will’s relationship with Bo. Another thing, and I might be in the minority here, but I wish the story didn’t focus so much on the pageant. I liked that part of the story, but I really would have preferred if it focused more on Will dealing with her insecurities with Bo when it comes to dating. We finally have a normal girl who is nervous and embarrassed about what Bo thinks of her body, but that never really gets explored, which is a shame because I would have loved to have seen that. I know Will had major confidence about herself and the pageant and her new friends gave her even more confidence, but she still was worried about her body when it came to Bo. The outcome of the pageant didn’t magically fix that. My last issue was that Ellen was a terrible best friend. She did and said some pretty terrible things to Will and I thought she might have been better off without her. I guess I’m not as forgiving as Will is, which is just another reason to like her. Despite these things, this book was just really fun and had such a great message. I would recommend this to all girls, no matter if they are teens or adults. I really hope we get more characters like Will and more body-positive books like this!
Cover Inspired Look:
Listen to a sample of Dumplin:
Some of my favorite quotes from Dumplin:
– I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.
– I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won’t zip.
– I’m good at being who I am. I’m good at saying, ‘This is me. Back me up or back the fuck out.’ Ya know?
– “Willowdean Opal Dickson, you are beautiful. Fuck anyone who’s ever made you feel anything less.”
– There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.
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